Sunday, November 18, 2007
Your quiet time with God (Oct 10-16 2007)
"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You." Psalm 63:1 NIV
When you come to meet with God you should have an attitude of:
(1) Expectancy. Expect to 'give and get' from your time together. And make it a time of intimacy. It's impossible to have a love affair in a crowd or a public place; intimacy calls for being alone with the one you love. The Bible speaks about Christ as the Groom and us as His bride. Think of the anticipation and excitement shared in such moments.
(2) Reverence. Don't rush into God's presence. Prepare your heart by being still before Him and letting the quietness clear away the thoughts of the world. Remind yourself Who it is you're meeting with - God! "You are worthy...to receive glory and honour" (Rev 4:11 NIV).
(3) Alertness. Get to bed early so you'll be in good shape to meet God in the morning. He deserves your full attention. Give God the best part of your day - when you are the freshest. Follow the example of Christ: "Very early in the morning...Jesus...went off to a solitary place, where He prayed" (Mk 1:35 NIV). Hudson Taylor said, "You don't tune up the instruments after the concert is over...you tune them up before you start."
(4) Willingness. This attitude is crucial: you don't come to your quiet time to choose what you will or won't do, but with the purpose of doing anything and everything God wants you to do. Jesus said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God" (Jn 7:17 NIV). So come to meet with the Lord, having already chosen to do His will no matter what!
Your quiet time with God (2) O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You." Psalm 63:1
Stephen Olford said, "I want to hear God's voice before anyone else's in the morning. And His is the last voice I want to hear at night." David and Daniel met with the Lord three times daily (See Ps 55:17; Da 6:10). Whatever time you set, be consistent. Put it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as you would with anyone else. And keep it. Don't stand Him up!
The question is often asked, "How much time should I spend?"
Here are some guidelines:
(1) Don't start with a two-hour quiet time. You'll get discouraged. You'll create memories of failure rather than memories of success. You must grow in this relationship as you do in any other. So begin with a few minutes and let it grow.
(2) Don't clock-watch. That'll ruin your quiet time faster than anything else. Decide what you can do in God's Word and prayer during the time you've selected; then do it! Sometimes it'll take more time than you have set aside, sometimes less. But don't keep looking at your watch.
(3) Emphasise quality, not quantity. It's what you do during your quiet time - whether 15 minutes or two hours - that's important.
(4) Choose a special place. "Next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord" (Ge 19:27 NIV).
Your special place ought to be a place where:
(a) you can pray aloud without embarrassment;
(b) you're comfortable. (Don't have your quiet time in bed - that's too comfortable!)
As the days go by your special place will come to mean everything to you because of the wonderful times you have there with the Lord.
Your quiet time with God (3) "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You." Psalm 63:1
For the next few days let's deal with some 'quiet time problems.'
The problem of discipline! This is known as "the battle of the blankets." It faces you the moment you wake up. The devil will exaggerate how tired you are. And when he and your flesh team up, it's a battle to get out of bed.
So here are some tips on overcoming this problem:
(a) Go to bed on time. Too many of us stay up late watching TV, therefore we have a hard time getting up in the morning. Dawson Trotman lived by the Scripture, "Early will I seek thee." Even if he had company the night before, he would excuse himself and go to bed because his top priority was meeting with Christ each morning.
(b) Get up immediately upon waking. If you wait to think about it, you've already lost the battle. Furthermore, when you wake up in the morning it's not the time to pray about deciding to get up. If you have to pray about it, do so the night before, and pray that you'll have the willpower to do it. Plan it. Be intentional! Resolve like the Psalmist, "In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice" (Ps 5:3 NIV).
(c) Go to bed with thoughts of Scripture. Fall asleep with the attitude of, 'See You in the morning, Lord.' Ask Him to wake you up with thoughts of Him. One of the best ways to do that is to go to sleep with a Scripture verse on your mind. "Do not let this Book...depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night" (Jos 1:8 NIV)
Your quiet time with God (4) O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You." Psalm 63:1
You say you're not getting much out of your quiet time? Rick Warren refers to this as "the battle of the blahs." He writes: "You can never judge your quiet time by your emotions. Emotions may lie; feelings may come and go. If you only have a quiet time when you 'feel' like it, the devil will make sure you never feel like it. Some days will seem bland. On other days you'll think Heaven has opened up to you. So don't expect a glorious 'experience' every morning. Not having goose-bumps doesn't mean God is not present."
Dry spells can be caused by:
(a) Disobedience. God won't bless you beyond your last act of disobedience. And He won't reveal step two until you've taken step one.
(b) Being in a hurry. Samuel Chadwick said, "Hurry is the death of prayer." So go for quality and content, not mileage!
(c) Being in a rut. When your quiet time becomes a ritual instead of a relationship, it dies. So be flexible; change your routine, keep it interesting - for you and the Lord.
(d) Not sharing your insights with others. When we give out, we get back more in return. Share your quiet-time thoughts with others and see what happens. If you're still not getting anything out of it, tell God about it. It takes time to develop a relationship. You must learn to see God in all kinds of circumstances in order to get to know Him well. So don't give up:
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Gal 6:9 NIV).
Your quiet time with God ( 5 ) "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You." Psalm 63:1
Once you have won "the battle of the blankets" and "the battle of the blahs," you'll have to fight "the battle of the brain." Your mind will wander off in 101 directions during your quiet time. The devil will make sure it does. You'll find yourself distracted by noises, lack of sleep, tensions with others, work, and things you 'just can't forget.'
So here are some helpful suggestions:
(1) Be sure you're thoroughly awake. Take a shower, splash cold water on your face, or do some exercise. Get the adrenalin flowing! The Psalmist writes, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God" (Ps 42:1 NIV). A deer being pursued by a hunter has only one thing in mind; getting to the stream where its wounds can be healed, its thirst quenched, and its strength renewed.
(2) Use a memo pad. When you decide to spend time with God you'll suddenly 'remember' everything you have to do, or have left undone. So write things down as they come to you, then tell yourself, "I'll get to that later," and go back to prayer.
(3) Walk while you're praying. You won't fall asleep while standing up, so move around.
(4) Personalise the Scriptures. Pray them back to God. Since God's Word is always in line with God's will, your prayers will get answered. For example, use Psalm 23: "Lord, You are my Shepherd, therefore I shall not want for anything. Thank You for leading me in paths that are right when I don't know which way to go." This simple technique can transform your quiet time.
Your quiet time with God (6) God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You." Psalm 63:1
Nothing is more difficult to maintain than your quiet time with God. When pressures mount, what's the first thing you're tempted to drop? Satan knows if he can keep you from it he's won the battle, because he'll have no opposition from you.
Backslidden Christians will tell you, "It started when I began to neglect my quiet time with God."
"So how can I overcome this problem?" you ask.
(1) Make a covenant with God. And be serious about it: "When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it...It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfil it" (Ecc 5:4-5 NIV).
(2) Put it on your schedule. Block out time to meet with God each day, just like you plan a doctor's appointment or a business lunch. Can you imagine keeping an appointment that's more important?
(3) Be ready for the devil's excuses and attacks. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. So follow the Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared!" Dr. Robert G. Lee used to say, "If you wake up in the morning and don't meet the devil face on, it means you're headed in the same direction!"
(4) Leave your Bible open the night before at the passage you intend to read in the morning. When you wake up it will serve as a reminder to have your quiet time.
"But what if I miss a day?" Don't worry, and don't go on a guilt trip. If you miss a meal it doesn't mean you gave up eating. You simply eat a little more at the next meal, and go on from there.
Your quiet time with God (7 ) O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek You." Psalm 63:1
Psychologists say it takes up to three weeks to get familiar with a new habit; then another three weeks before it takes root. You've got to get beyond that six-week barrier!
Here's a simple formula for developing a habit:
(1) Make a strong resolution! If you begin half-heartedly you'll never succeed. The Bible says "Encourage one another daily" (Heb 3:13 NIV). So become accountable to someone. Ask them to encourage you, and to remind you of the promise you made to God.
(2) Never allow an exception. A habit is like a ball of twine: every time you drop it some of the strands unwind. So never allow 'just this once' to occur. Each act of yielding weakens your will and causes you to lose ground.
(3) Seize every opportunity to practice your new habit. Whenever you get the slightest urge to practice it, do it right then. Don't wait, use that moment to reinforce it. It doesn't hurt to overdo a new habit when you are first starting.
(4) Rely on the power of God. When all is said and done, you must realise you're in a Spiritual battle and that you can only succeed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. So pray that God will strengthen you. Depend on Him to help you develop the habit for His glory.Write down the following words and sign your name to the bottom of them. Then keep them before you constantly:
"Lord, I commit myself to spending a definite time with You every day, no matter what the cost. And I'm depending on You to help me to be consistent. Amen."
Hearing from God (1) (Aug 29th- 1st Sept 2007) - "He will be our guide." Psalm 48:4 (NIV)
Jesus told His disciples, "The Spirit of truth (the Truth-giving Spirit)...will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth)" (Jn 16:13 AMP). Jesus spoke these words to men with whom He'd spent the previous three years. Now you'd think that if Jesus was with us personally for three years day and night, we'd have learned all there is to know. But Jesus said to expect more, because He will always have something to say to us about each new situation we are facing.
God wants to speak to you on a one-to-one basis. He wants to lead you step by step into the good things He has in store for you. He cares about the tiniest details of your life. Never hesitate to take what you think are small things to God; after all, everything is small to God! He even keeps track of how many hairs you have on your head (See Mt 10:30). He cares about the desires of your heart. He wants to reveal truth to you that will set you free from worry, fear, and limitation. His plan to share an intimate relationship with you existed before you were even born.
The Psalmist said, "All the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape" (Ps 139:16 AMP). Paul said that God "determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him" (Acts 17:26-27 NIV).
Doesn't it stand to reason that if God plans all of our days, and where we're going to live before we're even born, that it's important for us to learn how to hear from Him
Hearing from God (2) - "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
If you are unwilling to listen to God in one area, you'll be unable to hear from Him in other areas. People think they can't hear from God, but in reality there are a lot of things they already know He wants them to respond to, but haven't done so. The more quickly you do whatever it is the Lord tells you to do, the more quickly He reveals the next step you are to take.
Hearing from God must be developed by practice - especially if you're a talker! That's why He says, "Be still and know that I am God." Our flesh is full of energy and always wants to be active doing something, so it can be difficult for us to be still. Don't just talk to God when you want or need something; spend time with Him - listening! He'll open up many issues if you'll just be still before Him.
You say, "But I don't think I've ever heard God talk to me!" Could it be that you haven't learned to listen? When you ask God for something, it's time to tune your 'receiver.' Even if He doesn't respond at that moment, He will in due time. You may be doing some ordinary task when He decides to speak to you. But if you've honoured Him by listening as part of your fellowship with Him, He'll speak to you at exactly the right time.
Perhaps you've wasted many years going your own way. It's not too late to go in a new direction. If you are sincerely willing to obey God, He'll guide you on an exciting journey of learning to hear from Him every day of your life.
Hearing from God (3) - "His anointing teaches you concerning everything." 1 John 2:27 AMP
We need to have an attitude that says, "God, no matter what anyone else is telling me, or what I think myself, if I clearly hear You saying something to me I'm going to honour You and do what You say."If we pray diligently, hear from God, then start asking everybody else what they think, we're honouring people's opinion above God's. This attitude will prevent us from developing a relationship in which we consistently hear from Him. We need to trust God to instruct us - without needing reassurance from others:
"The anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you... His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true...so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him" (1 Jn 2:27 AMP).
This verse isn't saying that we don't need anybody to teach us God's Word. But it does say we have God's Spirit living inside of us to guide and direct our lives. We might occasionally ask somebody for advice, but we need not go constantly to other people to ask them about decisions we're making for our lives.If we are ever going to develop the ability to hear from God and be led by His Spirit, we have to start making our own decisions - and trust the wisdom God has deposited in our heart. The devil wants us to think we're not capable of hearing from God. Don't buy it! The Holy Spirit that dwells inside you will give you confidence, comfort, and counsel for your life. So, learn to listen to Him!
Hearing from God (4) - "For the revelation awaits an appointed time".
Please go to link http://www.ucb.com.au/ Sat 1st September to read the rest of this message!~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Praying for others: How to pray for others "Grace, mercy, and peace from...Jesus Christ." 1 Timothy 1:2
Paul prayed for three things to be given to those he loved. So when you're not sure how to pray for others, what better example than this one where he asks God to give Timothy:
(1) Grace: Peter says, "God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong...support you and keep you from falling" (1 Pet 5:10 NCV). This word grace implies 'all of God you'll ever need to handle whatever you're facing.' That's worth praying for, isn't it?
(2) Mercy: A large publishing house has a machine that automatically mails reminders to its readers that their subscriptions have expired. One day it malfunctioned and a rancher in a remote Colorado town received 9,734 notices! So he drove for kilometres to the nearest post office, mailed in his cheque, and wrote, "Send me the magazine. I give up!" That's how it is with God; He keeps sending us notices!
The Bible says, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lam 3:22-23 NIV).
(3) Peace: "All who listen to Me shall live in peace and safety, unafraid" (Pr 1:33 TLB). What a gift to know that God's peace can sustain you through the worst situations. And the kind of peace He gives is different from what the world offers (See Jn 14:27). At best, the world's peace gives us temporary relief;
but "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds" (Ph 4:7 NIV).
So the next time you're praying for someone ask God to saturate them in His grace, mercy, and peace.
Written Bob Gass Ministries Used with Permission from "The Word For Today" (Aug-Nov 2007): http://www.blogger.com/ to those in Australia the devotional is available free from UCB Australia by phoning 1800 068 204.